LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Perennially peace-challenged Abra province, the Cordillera police said, remains the topmost “concern” in peace-keeping efforts ahead of the 2013 elections.
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong admitted that keeping Abra peaceful year-round is a big challenge on the part of law enforcers. Abra is the only province in the region that is included in the “15 priority provinces” in the upcoming mid-term polls May next year.
This early, the Cordilera police command strictly monitoring the readiness of the different police operating units in sustaining peace and order efforts, “emphasizing clearly to the field commanders the Cordillea police’s vision of a ‘non-COMELEC Controlled Abra’ that is anchored on ‘sustained engagement with stakeholders, non-partisan police force and consistency in the enforcement of laws as salient elements of the peace-keeping strategy’.”
“Police-community partnership and collaboration activities should be undertaken collectively by all unit commanders through the conduct of peace forums, rallies, covenant signing, unity walk/run and negotiations for the continuous surrender and safekeeping of loose/registered firearms of contending politicians within the area,” Magalong told his commanders in Abra Tuesday.
Magalong on Tuesday also “engaged” in a dialogue different political groups and sectors like the Abra Peace Convenors Group composed of “non partisan persons”, business sector, and the youth and students.
Among the significant comments and recommendations during the series of dialogues and consultations with stakeholders, Magalong said, were the installation of CCTVs in the crime prone streets of Bangued, Abra’s capital town; responsible use of the cellphone in reporting crime or any police matter; unbiased police interventions (arresting criminals and investigating crime incidents); and no let-up or continuous conduct of police checkpoints in order to neutralize the presence of wanted persons, reduce the number of unlicensed firearms and control the presence of gun-for-hire individuals.
The police said most now feel more comfortable and secured with the current peacekeeping efforts, Magalong said.
This strategy, Magalong said, was developed because of the very fragile situation in Abra. – Artemio A. Dumlao